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Photograph: Google maps

At least six civilians were killed on Saturday in a suicide bombing in a flashpoint eastern Iraqi town, a local militiaman said.

A suicide attacker detonated a car packed with explosives in the town of Tuz Khurmato, Abu Reda al-Najar, a member of the town’s Shiite militia added.

Six others were injured in the attack. No one has claimed responsibility.

Suicide car bombings are a trademark of the Islamic State extremist group that was forced out of Tuz Khurmato early this year.

Shiite militiamen nominally loyal to the central government in Baghdad and Kurdish forces played a substantial role in routing the al-Qaeda splinter group in the area.

But they have since sporadically clashed among themselves there.

Tuz Khurmato, located south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, is one of many areas disputed between the central government and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

Most of the disputed areas, including Kirkuk, have been captured by Kurdish forces since Islamic State seized large territory of Iraq in a blitz attack in mid-2014. 

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